NABOKV-L post 0002384, Fri, 26 Sep 1997 09:37:26 -0700

Re: LOLITA's "Chestnut Lodge" (fwd)
From: Jeff Edmunds <>

In light of the responses from Messrs. Naiman and Dolinin to Sandy
Drescher's original query, I thought I'd pass along this bit of
information, which Drescher (who is not subscribed to the list and has
given me permission to forward it) sent to me before the Naiman-Dolinin
exchange began.

While not definitive supporting evidence for either point of view, the info
reminds us of what most of us would, I think, freely acknowledge: that
Nabokov's linguistic tricks are nearly always multivalent. They seldom
operate on a single level of meaning. As Dieter E. Zimmer has shown in his
notes to the recent German edition of _Lolita_, the many place names
Humbert mentions in his memoir are often actual sites. Whether or not it
was intended anagramatically, "Chestnut Lodge" did indeed exist, and the
information Drescher provides seems particularly enlightening given
Humbert's mental history.

Just another reminder that Nabokovian leg-pulling is a much more
complicated affair than simply having one's limb tugged. Most often it is a
kind of tricky flip, like Kinbote's Zemblan wrestling moves, that leaves
the reader suddenly on his or her back staring skyward, wondering at the
blueness of the sky and what the shapes of those cotton-white clouds could
possibly signify.

>In the 40's-50's Chestnut Lodge was one
>of the most [if not the most] prestigious of the "psychoanalytically
>oriented" mental institutions in the US. The staff included Harry Stack
>Sullivan and Freida From Reichmann ["I never promised you a rose
>garden"] Interestingly, it was one of the main sources of a predominant
>theme in modern psychiatry which rejects Freudian mythology in favor of
>exploring the interpersonal relationships between those giving/doing
>therapy and recipients. Nabokov's disdain for Freud is quite paralell to
>that of Freud's Prussian contemporaries...ridicule of the mythology as a
>way of attacking another idea: that a good bit of mental process is not
>immediately available to the "owner" and thus uncounted in the game of
>thinking. \
> ANDrescher